What We Do & Why It Matters

Jasmine Collins Assistant Professor

Dr. Collins applies critical theories and methods to examine college student awareness and advocacy around contemporary social issues. Through her research, teaching, and service, she develops agricultural leaders who are self-and-socially-aware, multiculturally competent, and unafraid to tackle big issues.

Heather Cupps-Miller Instructor

Ms. Miller teaches courses that strengthen students’ journalism and communications skills, specifically involving the food complex, natural resources, rural-urban interactions, and other dimensions of agriculture and the environment. She cultivates students skilled in communicating across multimedia platforms.

Vivechkanand “V” Chunoo Instructor

Dr. Chunoo investigates leadership learning processes to make them more accessible to a wider range of diverse individuals. His scholarship and teaching challenges historical narratives around leadership and shifts the mindset of leaders toward justice and equity.

Kari Keating Teaching Assistant Professor

Dr. Keating grows her students’ confidence and capacity to lead and to become change-makers in the real world. As the coordinator of UIUC’s popular Minor in Leadership Studies, Kari’s teaching focuses on the foundations of effective leadership: the development of self-awareness, the importance of authenticity, and the skills in organizational communication for professional success.

Debra Korte Teaching Assistant Professor

Dr. Korte prepares teachers and leaders to address a variety of needs in classrooms and corporations. She structures in-class and outreach experiences for future educators to enable them to apply instructional techniques in real-world settings while enhancing their self-efficacy. She studies psychological elements that impact teacher retention and career choice, in addition to the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Gary Ochs Instructor

Mr. Ochs helps students achieve post-college success in agricultural education careers. He works with students to obtain teacher licenses and plan coursework, and coordinates outreach to new or potential students. Student rapport is the backbone of what he does, as he’s working with students inside and outside the classroom.

Andrea Ray Office Administrator

Ms. Ray organizes the finances and logistical planning necessary for courses to be offered and research to be conducted.  She ensures courses are offered at times and places convenient for students, that faculty come in under budget, and parking spaces get reserved when alumni come back to visit. J

Lulu Rodriguez Associate Professor

Dr. Rodriguez leads the only program in the country that entwines the study of agricultural and environmental sciences with that of journalism, advertising, and public relations. She designs, implements, and evaluates the impact of communication campaigns related to food safety and food security, renewable energy, and the environment.

David Rosch Director and Associate Professor

Dr. Rosch provides leadership to the Program.  As a scholar, he explores ways to help high school and college students develop leadership skills that help set them apart from their peers and distinguish themselves as future leaders in the job market. He helps students build their confidence in serving as a leader of their peers and motivates them to become more engaged in their communities.

Jennifer Smist Instructor

Ms. Smist helps students develop their individual capacity to address complex challenges and achieve their personal and professional potential. She focuses on personal development, interpersonal communication skills, and team leadership within complex organizations and systems. These skills help students engage with others in a constructive fashion and maximizes their influence in personal and professional contexts.